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Black Men’s Studies

Black Manhood and Masculinities in the U.S. Context

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Serie McDougal III

Black Men's Studies offers an approach to understanding the lives and the self determination of men of African descent in the U.S. context. It not only frames their experiences, it also explores the multidimensional approaches to advancing the lives of Black men. Particular attention is given to placing Black men in their own unique historical, cultural, and socio-political contexts.

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Chapter 10 Black Male Health and Well-Being

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Chapter 10

Black Male Health and Well-Being

Black males brought to the Americas their own ideas regarding health, both in how they supported their own wellness and how they interacted with the growing Eurocentric medical establishment. Power and gendered racism have created and continue to create barriers that Black males face in their pursuit of health. Yet it is important to also understand how Black manhood and masculinity influence Black males’ thoughts and actions in those different areas of health. This chapter charts the development of Black males’ understandings of health, their present health statuses, the influence of race, power, and gender on their health, and culturally informed approaches to healing.

The Meaning of Health and Well-being

What definitions of health did African men bring with them to the Americas? Answering this question requires exploring various meanings of health and the pre-colonial African understandings of health—factors necessary also for understanding the current health status of Black men and boys today.

Definition of Health

According to Macionis (2014), society shapes the way people understand health; culture effects health because it shapes what is seen as healthy. What people see as healthy is also related to what they see as being morally good. For example, individualistic and competitive people are viewed as healthy among many people in the U.S. whereas such an outlook may be considered “sick” to people with a more collectivist outlook. Health is defined by the...

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